To know wines is not a matter of elitism or image, but that of personal pleasure and interest. Not only viticulturists, enologists and sommeliers, but also ordinary wine lovers share their passion for wines. Wine is not consumed solely as a beverage, nor to clench thirst; it is consumed to be felt and properly enjoyed in. There is a saying that not knowing wines is same as not knowing colours. We need to enable our senses of smell and taste to develop and recognise the greatest variety of aromas contained in one drop thus enriching ourselves and our lives.
That surely doesn’t mean that one should know everything about all wine varieties, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to know details on the favourite ones. Whether you are a fan of red, white or rosé wines you should bear in mind the convincing fact of beneficial influence of wine on human health. French scientist Pasteur was the first to say that wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages. It contains twenty known antioxidants which prevent illnesses and slow down the aging process. French live healthier and longer by cherishing their wine culture, and they gladly share the secret of their longevity and vitality: one glass a day for women and two a day for men. Apart from French, wine is daily consumed by the population of Italy, Spain and other countries with a distinctive wine tradition.
If you want to enjoy wines with your friends and family or you seek a recommendation from a sommelier in a restaurant, there are a few expressions whose meaning you have to recognize in order to be able to select wine that suits you most. Tart-rough wine is a description for young red wine, full of tannin; woody wines are those that have aged for a long time in wooden barrels with pronounced aromas of wood; the expression bouquet is reserved for aged wines with aromatic substances, and heady are wines which are high in alcohol. Balanced wines are characterized by harmony of flavours, and spicy wines are enriched by flowery and spicy aromas. The choice is yours, of course. On the other hand, if you prefer light wines, then you might be interested in wines low in alcohol and with small amount of extracts, but if you prefer strong wine, your choice shall be one of dry wines with no residual sugars. When pairing wine and food you may also have a dilemma that you can easily lose if following basic guidelines, thus reaching a perfect combination according to your habits and taste. The basic rule is that light dishes pair well with light wines; heavy dishes pair well with strong wines, sourish dishes are a match for fresh wines. White wines are recommended with boiled fish, red wines with shellfish, crabs and red meat, whereas sweet dishes are paired with dessert wines and champagnes.
One of the most famous wines in the world is Cabernet Sauvignon, autochthonous variety, usually consumed three or four years after aging, very often even after twenty years. It is considered to be the king amongst wines, and it pairs excellently with game, mushrooms, cannelloni, lasagna and aromatic chesses. It is distinctive for its taste that may recall black currant flavour.
There are numerous reasons to be a wine lover, so therefore taste, experience and tell about it. Cheers to all wine lovers!!
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"Quality wine and a beautiful woman are the two most beautiful poisons."
"Three glasses of wine end a hundred quarrels."
"Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it." - Madam Pompadour
"In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it." - Napoleon
"Soul without wine is short-lasting." - Heraclitus
"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats
"Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection." - Ernest Hemingway
"I like on the table, when we're speaking, the light of a bottle of intelligent wine." - Pablo Neruda
"Wine comes in at the mouth, and love comes in at the eye… I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh." - W.B. Yeats
"Friends are made in wine and proved in tears."
The Legend of Ice Wine Origin
Origins of presently extremely expensive ice wines (eiswain) can be traced back to the late 18th century and to one of numerous states of Frankish Empire. In the autumn of 1794, winter came so unexpectedly fast, temperatures dropped below zero and grapes froze. Unpleasantly surprised and disappointed people didn’t give up the planned vintage and at dawn, at a very low temperature they harvested and crushed frozen grapes. By chance, this very decision had an influence on discovering the way of making top-quality predicate wine.
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In vino veritas! The truth is that grapevine can be found throughout the world; we are all mutually connected with it and numerous miracles are hidden within wine barrels. Ripe, excellent vintage wines are materialized past, providing a unique insight to ancient summers, reminding of sun and excellent vintage, and refreshing silenced memories. Hence, an excellent wine, made with great care and love, whether it is white, red or rosé, represents the most perfect piece of art, requiring a full wine-cellar of words to describe it.
White wines! For some people, not necessarily sommeliers, the colour of wine is of extreme importance. For example, Chinese businessmen would never reach for white wine since they consider it a feminine beverage, however this wine has its lovers, regardless of gender. It is characterized by its crystal clear colour with gentle golden and yellow-green tones, harmony of freshness and gentle flowery aromas. These wines are almost always made from white grapes’ varieties, however some expert wine makers can make it from some red grapes’ varieties such as Pinot Noire. They are usually made dry and semi-dry and even sweet. The most popular white wines are Chardonnay, Rhine Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Red wines are made from black grapes and they are mostly red or blue ink in colour, depending on fruit pigmentation as well as on maceration and fermentation processes. Apart from the difference in colour, the basic difference between white and red wines are powerful substances -tannins. They are the main cause of numerous dilemmas when it comes to ordering wine, and they are perhaps the origin of the saying that wine turns people into gods but also into devils. Tannins are contained in fruits’ skin and they are transferred into wines during maceration of alcohol fermentation when grapes’ skins and seeds are mixed with grape juice. The increased percentage of tannin in red wines, originating from the skins and seeds may make wine taste a bit too astringent and unpleasant to the palate. Red wine should be kept in ordinary or barrique oak barrels that shall smoothen and balance these tannins, make wines harmonious and add pleasant punch and vanilla taste apart from its recognizable grape variety aromas. Contents and balance of tannin in red wines are an important factor of their quality. But, it should be emphasized that components originating from the skins and seeds of black grapes, amongst which the resveratrol is the most important, as well as its anti-oxidant effect are the most beneficial for numerous proven positive effects of red wines on people’s health, especially cardio-vascular system.
Rosé wines! Whether it is rosé, Rosado, rosato or blush, the name of these wines points out to ostentatious notes, smooth delicate wines whose colour varies from gentle pink to light ruby red. Rosé wines are made from dark grapes using a technology almost identical to the production of white wines. The intensity of pink colour of these wines depends on the variety of black grapes and duration of cold maceration of crushed grapes which is usually finished after 12-24 hours. Due to quick removal of skin and seeds, the content of tannin in rosé wines is minimal and these wines are mainly delicate with intense flowery aromas, very often significantly different from red wines’ aromas, obtained from the same grape’ varieties. These wines can be made semi-dry or semi-sweet, i.e. dessert wines, however the best traditional European rosé wines are made dry and are successfully combined with numerous light dishes.